For the past fortnight we have had Philip with us on work experience. He has written this post on what he found about his Jones ancestors by using the resources we have in the Athenaeum and our partner departments, the North Devon Record Office and the Local Studies Library…Barum Athena
During the previous two weeks, I have studied my family’s past to find out more about them as I didn’t know very much. Using resources such as Ancestry and the North Devon Journal Index, I traced back through my mother’s side of the family and managed to get as far back as the nineteenth century! I found out that my grandmother’s original husband, Edward T Jago, was the son of an Ida Gammon and a Leonard Stanley Jago. To find out the names of his parents, I checked through old issues of the North Devon Journal and found a column that publicly announced his death, though it wasn’t very helpful as there was no mention of his parents. Because of this, I had to find Ida’s parents instead. Fortunately, I had more luck with them and found that her parents were William Henry Gammon and Elsie Jones. Confusingly, William’s father was also called William and even stranger, Elsie’s father was called William Henry Jones! As I could not find out who was married to William Gammon, I decided to track through Elsie’s side of the family and found that William Henry Jones was married to a Clara Jane Sexon. It was here that tracing further back became almost impossible as both William and Clara were very difficult to trace. However, I did find that the two of them had eleven children in total!
The first child was Hannah Gammon Jones who was born in 1889 on the 29th of March, followed by Ida Mary Jones on the 11th of April in 1890. Ida Gammon’s mother, Elsie Perryman Jones, was born on the 21st of March in 1891.
Yet another William was born on the 21st of November in 1892, followed by John Sexon Jones on the 4th of January in 1894. I found another child called Walter, baptised on the 1st of August in 1895, but was unable to find his birth which possibly took place in 1894 or 1895. After Walter, William and Clara had another child, Howard Nelson, who was born on the 25th of February in 1897. Interestingly, Howard preferred to use his middle name, Nelson, instead of his first name. Next came Charles who was baptised sometime during September in 1900. Two years later, Margery Annie Jones was born on the 27th of September 1902. William and Clara must have liked the name Charles as that was the name they gave to their next child, which suggests that the older Charles died. Charles Henry Jones was born on the 24th of October in 1906. The youngest child, Edgar Alfred Jones, was born on the 5th of October in 1908. I discovered these children by looking through the Parish Baptisms Registers and the Wesleyan Circuit Baptism Registers. I have to say, I was very surprised when I discovered just how many they had. Unfortunately and rather tragically, three or four of the children died at very young ages; one of them having died at the age of just four months.
One thing bothered me though. In each birth record, the parents’ home had been listed differently. Some of them stated that the couple lived in Swimbridge, and some of them stated that they lived in Landkey! Luckily enough, I found that William Jones worked as a Miller at Newland Corn Mill. This explained why the said that they lived in Landkey and Swimbridge on the various registered births. Newland Corn Mill was considered to be in Swimbridge but was really in Landkey; I find it very confusing.
Originally, the project was to find if any of my family members were involved in the First World War, but I was unable to find any records of William Jones really doing anything at all. I checked through various documents and newspapers, and every time a William Jones was mentioned, it wasn’t him. Part of the reason there were few records was that he and Clara Sexon were non-conformists. I think I was lucky enough to find the records I did about the family!
Philip used several resources from the North Devon Athenaeum, North Devon Record Office and Barnstaple Local Studies Library, including online sources and original documents. For more information about what each department holds please visit the Catalogue page on our website…Barum Athena